Twelve years ago I blogged on this website a criminal court case in Cheshire County, NH involving a military veteran turned independent journalist named Jason Talley. Mr. Talley had become ensnared in contempt of court and disorderly conduct charges after he dared commit the dastardly crime of mere possession of a recording device in a New Hampshire court facility.
Ultimately, after months of litigation, the case was won in Mr. Tally’s favor due to a technical “error” committed by the prosecution. In my humble opinion this “error” was intentionally committed to protect the New Hampshire Judiciary from having to publicly defend their egregious conduct.
What “egregious conduct” you ask? The court order that Mr. Talley was accused of violating was put in place after another activist, Ademo Freeman, was arrested for “threatening” the Keene District Court Presiding Judge Edward Burke. This interaction was caught on video and contained absolutely no threat. What followed were administrative court orders restricting the Federal and State Constitution so that cameras could not be possessed in court facilities.
You see the misconduct here? Judge Burke breaks the law that forbids making false claims to law enforcement officers and then supervisory judges in the New Hampshire Judiciary restrict people’s freedoms as a result.
A crime or misconduct committed by a state employee cannot give justification to the government to restrict the freedom of those who are not in government. Not unless there are two classes of men. This is what they did.
It’s been two-and-a-half years since the outrageous raid against half-a-dozen peaceful advocates of cryptocurrency here in New Hampshire, now known as “The Crypto Six“. Sadly, federal court rules prohibit any kind of recording of court proceedings, so I’m sharing with you the text of what I intend to read in court prior to the judge issuing his sentence on my now seven victimless crime convictions, as he tossed one of the worst two convictions out a couple of weeks ago. Here it is:
I appreciate the opportunity to speak here today. I hope you can appreciate that I’m in a bit of an awkward position. Normally apologies and acceptance of responsibility are expected from a defendant at a sentencing hearing. I have been convicted on all eight counts I faced in trial by a jury of twelve other human beings. Since that time, this court has thankfully overturned my wrongful conviction on the money laundering count. We are going to be appealing the remaining seven convictions on the basis that the prosecution never proved a single one of them. So, I can’t apologize for those things, as I do not believe I broke the law. Regardless, the jury found me guilty despite the defects in the prosecutors’ case, so there is something in their opinion to be acknowledged. I don’t know if they didn’t like me or didn’t believe me, but they thought I deserved to be found guilty – and I have to accept that there was some reason they did that, whether I like it or not.
You thought police body cameras would help with police transparency? Well, think again. The motion cites RSA 105-D:2 XII, a terrible statute that appears to criminalize editing, copying, sharing, and even displaying any BWC footage. Though the section starts by saying it, “shall apply to law enforcement” agencies who use BWCs, later in part XII, it claims “all persons” are subject to the insane restrictions. It’s an obviously unconstitutional restriction on the people’s right to free speech and to be the free press. See Article 22 of the NH Constitution’s Bill of Rights:
Free speech and Liberty of the press are essential to the security of Freedom in a State: They ought, therefore, to be inviolably preserved.” Among other things, the statute also instructs police to not record interactions with other police employees, meaning any conversations between them is off-the-record.
Manchon received the footage from his discovery request as he prepares his defense on a ridiculous pullover by Hillsboro police. According to Manchon, he was pulled over wrongfully on an long-cancelled restraining order. HPD dispatch misinformed patrol officers that the order was still in place. It was originally put in place by his girlfriend over a non-violent misunderstanding and then it was removed in January after they were able to get back on good terms. They currently live happily together, I know that because she is my friend. She is pregnant with his child, hence, she was also with him in the car on August 12th, when HPD officers pulled them over:
Despite being informed by the couple that the restraining order was no longer in effect, the officers refused to research the restraining order to confirm the claim, instead arresting Manchon and charging him with “Disobeying an Officer”, then later changing that charge to “Resisting Detention”, by allegedly not getting out of the car fast enough for their liking. Later in the month, when visiting Hillsboro District Court for a right-to-record event, Manchon stopped by HPD headquarters and was arrested again for “Disorderly Conduct” and “Breach of Bail” for allegedly asking his viewers to contact Hillsboro Police at (603) 464-5512 to let them know how they feel about their corrupt police activity. It is not illegal to encourage people to redress their grievances with government thugs. In fact, Manchon and his attorney won against similarly frivolous charges in Claremont District Court last year. You can watch that full trial video here.
Hopefully the legislature will update this terrible statute to protect the people from criminal charges for sharing BWC videos and make BWC videos even more transparent and accessible without requiring criminal charges to get the videos in discovery, as right now the statute claims the videos are “for law enforcement purposes only” in part XIII. Obviously this restriction on access is also a violation of Article 8 of the NH Constitution’s Bill of Rights:
Government, therefore, should be open, accessible, accountable and responsive. To that end, the public’s right of access to governmental proceedings and records shall not be unreasonably restricted.
According to Manchon, the Hillsboro District Court has scheduled a hearing on the requested “protective order” for Monday Sept 25th, at 11am.
Stay tuned here to Free Keene for the latest on this ridiculous case and please do share, copy, and display Manchon’s video so Hillsboro’s scum prosecutor can charge dozens of people for exercising their free speech. Speaking and sharing is a right, but if we don’t stand for our rights, we’ll surely lose them.
As over 100 liberty activists gathered for my sentencing hearing at federal court, two brave activists challenged the unconstitutional recording ban at the federal courthouse. One is Frank “Footloose” Staples, a longtime freedom advocate who is not afraid to throw himself into the gears of the evil system. The other is NH State Representative Jason Gerhard, who spent a dozen years in federal prison for standing with tax freedom advocates Ed and Elaine Brown. When he was released a couple of years ago, he jumped right back into activism.
While there are ridiculous recording restrictions in existence at New Hampshire state courthouses, the feds are even worse. In NH state courts, one can easily record in a courtroom, but security goons will threaten people who try to record in the other areas of state courthouses. Federal courts however, completely ban all recording devices, nationwide. The ban, “Rule 53“, has been in place since 1946 and has never been successfully overturned. Recording devices are also prohibited by NH Federal District Court “local rules” 83.8.
Will Footloose and Rep Gerhard have success by openly violating the ban, giving them standing to argue their case in court? We’re about to find out, as both were arrested Monday morning while recording at the security checkpoint. Both were cuffed and then issued tickets for violating 102-74.385, a misdemeanor. That code states:
Persons in and on property must at all times comply with official signs of a prohibitory, regulatory or directory nature and with the lawful direction of Federal police officers and other authorized individuals.
Footloose argues that the court is a “public forum”, as stated on its own signage in the lobby, so any order by the police to leave is not a “lawful order”. Gerhard is standing on the constitutionally protected right to a free press. Here’s the video of their arrests:
Big thanks to the multiple dozens of supporters who came out from as far away as Nevada today to attend my sentencing for the Crypto Six case in federal court in Concord, NH. Surprisingly, the judge was only able to get through part of the sentencing and postponed it three more weeks until my attorneys have a chance to argue why he shouldn’t order restitution. Of course, one major reason is none of my “crimes” had a victim, but that’s not stopping the prosecution from pushing for me to pay the price for what scam artists did to elderly victims.
It’s worth noting that, as we learned at trial from their own witnesses, the feds never bothered to investigate the scammers at all. Instead they disingenuously got some of the scam victims to believe that *I* was somehow behind the scams, which is absolutely absurd and backed by zero evidence. However, the poor victims clearly want to blame someone and for someone to be punished for what was done to them, and I’m apparently the scapegoat.
My attorneys, Mark Sisti and Richard Guerriero, have two weeks to file their arguments. Meanwhile, I’m still out on bail restrictions. Prosecutors are pushing for a maximum sentence of 20 years, and $20.5 million in “forfeiture”, and more in “restitution”. All for selling bitcoin without asking government permission.
If you’re able to come out for the second and presumably the final sentencing date, I would appreciate it! The next date is October 2nd at 10am, at 55 Pleasant St. in Concord, New Hampshire. You will need an ID to get into the federal courthouse, and recording devices are not allowed.
Here is some media coverage from today:
Associated Press report, which kindly mentioned the awesome standing ovation I received upon entering the courtroom.
O’Donnell approaches Manchon in a apartment building parking lot and seizes his beer, then after Manchon refuses to show ID, O’Donnell puts him in cuffs. All the while, Manchon is explaining to O’Donnell that he’s going to have to let him go, pointing out O’Donnell should have conducted his investigation of the beer prior to cuffing Manchon. Once he does look at the bottle, O’Donnell looks embarrassed as he uncuffs Manchon and lets him go.
Despite having backed down on enforcement within the Council chambers, Press NH Now’s video shows the enforcement of this victimless “crime” of “open container” continues unabated on the streets. Thank you to Press NH Now for his service to police accountability.